For generations, Marvel comic books has been entertaining, exciting, and challenging the world. While their rivals, DC, have enjoy much success and actually came first, it’s Marvel that have constantly been at the foreground of the comic book world by creating some of the most beloved characters and writing some of the greatest storylines that we know today.
In recent years, Marvel has pushed their brand further than any other comic book company, or even studio, has ever done before. By creating the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, the folks at Marvel have successfully put their universe out there and have created an intricate world which spans both the big screen and the small. Once again, Marvel has led the way in what is possible in the realm of superheroes and has left the rest of the world playing catch up.
However, with a long history such as Marvel’s, there is bound to be the odd mistake or misfire. With that in mind, let’s look at 15 things that Marvel desperately want you to forget about. Luckily for them, you probably already have forgotten about most of these things!
15. Wolverine’s Whiskers
The first entry on our list is all about creating a character. When the writers of comic books first come up with their next big character, it can take a while before they fully form the character compete with powers, backstory, and costume. Because of this, many characters can be introduced and then later on be taken away and then reintroduced as a better and more well-rounded character. This is quite common within comic books. However, when we look back now at the iconic character of Wolverine, it’s funny to see what they first did with him.
First being introduced in Incredible Hulk 180, Wolverine was initially going to be an actual Wolverine that had been experimented on and modified. The writers soon thought that was stupid, thankfully, and instead created a man. Most of the traits that we love about Wolverine are there, his claws, the yellow and blue suit, but what they also added was whiskers. Not only does it look silly but Wolverines don’t even have whiskers!
14. Spider-Man: One More Day
Arguably the best and most famous couple in all the world of comic books, except for maybe Superman and Lois Lane, is Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Throughout the years, Parker and Watson have been through so much together; they’ve been friends, together, apart, married and then apart again, and with each storyline the two are involved in, the fans loved it more and more. This all came to a head when the two finally got married and for once, we all thought there could be happiness and love in the superhero world.
However, since then, writers have gone out of their way to erase Spider-Man’s marriage from the records, most notably when they came up with One More Day. In this story, Aunt May was dying and the only way to save her life was for Spider-Man to make a deal with Mephisto and the deal was that, to save Aunt May, Spider-Man’s marriage must be erased. The entire story anger fans and destroyed everything about our favorite couple.
13. DC Ripoffs
Let’s get this out of the way first: we all know that Deadpool is a ripoff of DC’s Deathstroke. In fact, the writers didn’t exactly make this subtle. Before Deadpool became the character we know and love today, he was supposed to be a fun poke at DC’s over serious Deathstroke. This is quite a common thing, after all, DC did it with Wolverine by creating Lobo.
But over the years there have been a few times Marvel has, shall we say, “paid homage” to DC characters and not only did they do that, but they then tried to make it out like they hadn’t: Black Cat and Catwoman. X-Men and Doom Patrol. Vision and Red Tornado. Bullseye and Deadshot. Thanos and Darkseid. The list could go on but it’s fair to say that some “inspiration” for a lot Marvel’s biggest characters involve picking up their rival’s comic books.
12. Most Of The Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four have been a bit of a strange franchise for Marvel over the years. When compared to the likes of The Avengers and The X-Men, The Fantastic Four hasn’t had a great life. Most of the time, The Fantastic Four have been more of the exploration and science side of comic books rather than full-blown heroes, which has caused the team to be revamped, rewritten, and retconned more than most.
After such a long history with Marvel, and being one of Marvel’s oldest heroes, The Fantastic Four took a huge dip during the 90s, so much so that the writers kept trying to change them. They changed everything from their costumes, which became more revealing, to rewriting their history. Then on top of that, there are the constant attempts to get The Fantastic Four into a big movie franchise like the MCU and X-Men, but each time it seems to fail. We’re not sure why, but in recent years The Fantastic Four just can’t catch a break.
11. Demon Hunting Punisher
We think that sometimes comic book writers just get bored and start tossing silly ideas around until they come up with something good. Unfortunately those silly ideas often get the go ahead and are never put down like they should have been. One such idea was to turn the popular and much loved anti-hero The Punisher into a demon hunter.
Frank Castle has been waging war on the criminals of the Marvel universe for years, much to the joy of the fans. His down to earth and gritty approach to the hero world, plus his love of violence and more adult themes, has put him firmly on the map as one of the great comic book characters. However, one day Marvel decided to change this and have The Punisher kill himself and become an agent of Heaven to kill demons. Becoming essentially a Ghostbuster, complete with ectoplasm guns, was a step too far for the fans. Luckily this run didn’t last long and it’s now all but forgotten.
10. Heroes Reborn
Another entry here for the “that should have stayed on the silly idea pile.” As we’ve mentioned already with The Fantastic Four, having such a long history with its most popular characters can sometimes be a curse as a lot of these characters and storylines become stale and even boring further down the line. The worst time for this, and for Marvel, was the 1990s. With a slump in comic book sales and a lot of their characters becoming less exciting, Marvel decided to take a lot of chances in order to kick start the new era.
One of these chances was Heroes Reborn. Essentially a way in which to take some of Marvel’s most popular characters back to the beginning and start again, Heroes Reborn ended up being a huge mistake. Not only were the ideas, artwork, and storylines terrible, but the whole run was just a mess. This was one risk and experiment that Marvel took that backfired on them big time.
9. Any Movie With Only The Hulk…
It’s strange and funny to think of Marvel failing in the movie world, what with the huge success, not to mention the foresight, planning and integration, of the MCU. Marvel have become a real powerhouse in all forms of entertainment. However, before the very idea of the MCU occurred to anyone, Marvel have been trying to get their best and most famous characters on the big screen. While some have been successful, Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man for example, a lot of them have failed pretty badly.
The top contender for the biggest continued flops on the big screen the big green monster himself, The Incredible Hulk. Having been one of the most popular characters in the comic books for years, Marvel have tried to mirror this success in the movies and each time it’s failed. His inclusion in the MCU has proved popular but the fact remains; if The Hulk is on his own then the movie will bomb.
8. …As Well As The X-Men Continuity
As with the previous entry, and the entry on The Fantastic Four, pre-MCU Marvel hasn’t always had the best luck when it comes to the movies. Probably one of Marvel’s biggest regrets is The X-Men franchise. Before the MCU, The X-Men wanted to take on the movie world and create a comic book universe that could sustain itself for many years and many movies. How wrong they were. We’re not saying that The X-Men movies are bad as such but when you compare them to what Marvel has done with the rest of their characters in the MCU, the movies, timelines, and planning for the X-Men franchise is way off.
Constantly having to fit in fresh stories and ideas within the very limited and restricted universe they’ve already created, The X-Men movies have been fighting themselves since day one. We feel that if Marvel has one regret in recent times then it’s letting The X-Men go. Imagine the MCU with mutants involved, that would be something special. Instead the MCU is forced to ignore everything mutant related and disown The X-Men universe altogether.
7. The Ultimates
As we’ve mentioned already on this list, the comic book world, and Marvel in particular, are always trying to come up with new storylines and reimaginings of the most popular heroes in order to keep it fresh and popular. One such reimagining was the Ultimates series, which sought to bring The Avengers more up to date, and to fit in with, if not inspire, what was starting to happen on screen in the MCU. We must say that the idea and the first volume of The Ultimates was good. It won over the fans and critics and even the followup volume Two was okay.
However, what followed has almost become unspeakable to fans. It’s not just that, over the course of these three volumes, our favorite Avengers had changed significantly, including their personalities and traits that made us love them in the first place, but it’s the story between Quicksilver and his sister Scarlet Witch that had us all reaching for the trash can. In this reality, the brother and sister duo are lovers and for some reason the writers thought this would be a great idea. How wrong they were.
6. Gwen Stacy’s Pregnancy
Now we come to an entry that still has fans foaming at the mouth with anger, us included. It’s fair to say that Spider-Man has probably been the most popular and consistent character that Marvel has ever created. His tragic backstory and his love life has made him compelling reading over the years. Although Mary Jane Watson will always be his big love, Gwen Stacy is often considered to be the woman that created the hero within him.
After her tragic death, which many still believe is one of the greatest stories in all comic books, Spider-Man’s path to protect the little people was set. However, Marvel writers weren’t happy to leave this story alone and went back to it and not only destroyed Gwen’s memory but destroyed her death and legacy within the Spider-Man mythos. It turns out that she had an affair with Norman Osborn and had his children, who would then grow up to hate Spider-Man and want him dead. WTF! Luckily Marvel have done everything they can to erase this from their comic books.
5. Ms. Marvel’s History
In the early days of Marvel, they struggled to find the female audience and to have a strong female superhero that could represent this. Nowadays the pages, and movies, of Marvel are filled with strong female role models. Some heroes, some villains, some strong, and some intelligent. The front runner for Marvel’s female superhero is Ms. Marvel. With a movie on the horizon, and a new version of the character taking the world by storm, Ms. Marvel has never been more popular.
How badly Marvel nearly messed this up. Out of all the backstories and story arches that characters have had, Ms. Marvel’s is one of the worst. Ms. Marvel has sex with a guy, the guy then turns out to be her son from the future and has impregnated Ms. Marvel with himself. Not only is this story cringe-worthy and unnerving, but Ms. Marvel confesses that she liked and enjoyed it all and has a serious relationship with her own son! We have no idea what the writers at the time were thinking, but thankfully Marvel has done everything they can to remove this from their history.
4. Captain America Became A Methhead
If there are two characters within the comic book universe that have always been good, true, pure, and stand for everything that a hero should, it’s Superman and Captain America. While Superman is getting his own rewrites and reboots over in DC, and in particular in the DC Extended Universe, Marvel has tried a few times to do the same with Captain America.
Wanting to get away from his clean cut image and boy scout persona, Marvel has tried a few times to give the good Cap a darker and more gritty edge, none more so than when Captain America become addicted to meth. That’s right, meth. After his friend and assistant becomes hooked on drugs, Captain America goes to confront the drug dealers, unfortunately the meth lab explodes and Captain America gets high off the fumes. Not only that, but he instantly becomes an addict and roams the streets for more meth in order to keep his high. As it turns out, the drugs mixed with the super soldier serum inside Captain America and instantly made him an addict. This is one storyline that the MCU won’t be doing.
The 1990s were not a good time for Marvel. With a dip in comic book sales, which actually affected most comic book companies, Marvel however tried to solve this by taking risk after risk. Not content with trying to rewrite and undermine everything they’ve done before with crazy story lines, stupid crossovers, and retcon after retcon, Marvel started to pay less attention to the work and stories of their comic books and more on gimmicks to try and get the audience back.
With things like hologram covers, foil covers, and trading covers, the list of ridiculous covers goes on! Marvel lost their way big time and they suffered for it, so much so that during the 90s they actually had to file for bankruptcy. Luckily, mergers and investors came in and Marvel learned from their mistakes to become the powerhouse they are now. But how close it all came to ending!
2. Spider-Man The Killer
It’s fair to say that Spider-Man is the epitome of a superhero. His tragic backstory fuelled him to become something great and worthwhile and his upbringing shaped his personality into a hero before he even got superpowers. “With great power comes great responsibility.” That phrase sums up Spider-Man better than anything else. Always noble, always good, and always the hero, no matter what else is going on around him, Spider-Man is always the hero and will always do the right thing.
It’s strange them just how many times Spider-Man has killed people. Marvel’s ultimate moral compass has caused death both by accident and on purpose. He’s killed the villain Moondark by pushing him through a portal that drops him off the Golden Gate Bridge and then mocks the dead guy. Other cases have seen Spider-Man kill Wolverine’s friend Charlie by punching her in the face! It does seem that from time to time, Spider-Man has a get out of jail free card in which he can do something terrible and then the writers hide it.
1. How They Treated Jack Kirby
It’s fair to say that without Jack Kirby, there would be no Marvel comics and therefore no MCU. The comic book artist is a giant in the comic book world and is responsible for, or at least being involved in, pretty much every major character. From The Fantastic Four to Hulk to The X-Men and The Avengers, Kirby drew them all. Not only did he ink most of the artwork, but he was actually involved in a lot of the ideas, storylines, and scripts for the comic books.
But our number one entry on things Marvel want you to forget is just how badly they treated the comic book genius that is Jack Kirby. Not only did they severely under pay him for his work, which at the height of the silver age of comic books, Kirby was drawing for 12 to 14 hours a day! Kirby also wasn’t being credited with any of his involvement with major characters and storylines, in particular with the writing side of things. This all came to a head when Marvel offered him a new contract in which he couldn’t legally retaliate against anything Marvel did to him. Kirby refused and left Marvel for DC. It’s only in recent years that the world has realized the greatness of Jack Kirby.